Invisalign and Invisalign Teen are convenient, discreet, comfortable smile solutions. That said, treatment is not quite as simple as popping in a set of aligners and calling it a day. In addition to taking your aligners out to eat and drink and keeping your teeth and aligners clean, you’ll also do daily bite, squeeze, and hold exercises with Invisalign chewies, or bite sticks. In this post, I’ll walk you through how to do the exercises and talk about why they’re necessary.
How Should Invisalign Fit?
An important thing to keep in mind is that Invisalign, or any type of clear aligner, is just a tool. Your end results will be determined by the treatment plan created by your orthodontist, how closely you fo
llow your wear schedule, and how well your aligners fit.
So, how should Invisalign fit? Your aligners should be super snug like spandex. When your Invisalign fits properly, the plastic will follow the shape of your teeth and sit flush against them. There shouldn’t be visible gaps or air bubbles between the aligners and your teeth. Even after you’ve worn your aligners for a few days and they don’t feel quite as tight, you still don’t want any gaps. Before you attempt to switch to your next aligner, the best way to visualize this is to dry your teeth and your aligners, and look for noticeable spaces.
What Should I Do if My Invisalign is Not Fitting Properly?
If your Invisalign is not fitting, first, make sure you put the aligners in correctly. Push the aligner over your front teeth, and apply gentle pressure to your molars with your fingers so it snaps in place. Then, use your thumbs to firmly press along the length of the aligner to get it fully seated. Once you feel that they are on, focus on rolling/pushing the aligner over your attachments to better engage the attachments. Think of it like rolling the lid over the edge of a Starbucks cup to get that snap-on fit.
Each Invisalign tray is unique and designed to achieve specific tooth movements. When you put in a new tray, it can feel like your Invisalign is not fitting on one tooth, or even several teeth.
That’s where daily bite, squeeze, and hold exercises using your Invisalign bite stic
ks or chewies come in. Doing the exercises once a day for 10 minutes will massage the aligners onto your teeth to ensure the aligners are able to deliver the programmed force ideally to each tooth.
What are Chewies for Invisalign?
Invisalign chewies, or bite sticks, are chewing devices that Invisalign patients bite on to get rid of spaces between the teeth and aligners. Usually, they’re small cylinders made of a spongy, soft material. You can get unflavored chewies or flavored ones like mint. Aside from improving aligner seating, biting on a chewy can also help relieve discomfort if your Invisalign hurts a bit when you put in a new set of aligners.
Patients sometimes ask, “What can I use instead of chewies for Invisalign?” There are other products out there, including Movemints® and Munchies®. I like chewies/bite sticks because they are really affordable, reusable, and simple to use.
Where Can I Buy Chewies for Invialign?
If you’re one of our El Dorado Hills Invisalign patients, I’ll give you bite sticks when you kick off treatment. You can also buy them at places like Amazon and Walmart.
How to Use Invisalign Chewies
My team and I tell our patients to do their Invisalign chewing exercises with their bite sticks/chewies at least once a day for 10 minutes. While you can split it up into two five-minute sessions, it’s just easier to do it all at once as opposed to remembering to do it twice. Use a chewy when you put in your aligners in the
morning, so your aligners will be working hard all day long.
You can also use your chewies any time you see a space between your aligner and a tooth or the fit feels off.
Here’s how to use Invisalign chewies/bite sticks:
- Put in your top and bottom Invisalign trays. Use your thumbs to press along the length of the trays to get a snug fit.
- Place your Invisalign chewy in your mouth between the upper and lower tooth where you see space.
- Bite down on the chewy. Then, squeeze it between the teeth, and hold it in place for five seconds. It’s not like chewing gum.
- Move the chewy to different areas of your mouth, repeating the process until you’ve bitten down with every tooth.
- If you have a trouble spot, you might have to do a few extra rounds of bite, squeeze, and hold to massage the aligner onto that tooth.
- When you’re finished, wash your chewy with unscented, mild dish soap and lukewarm water. Let it air dry. You can reuse it for as long as it retains its elasticity.
Can Chewies Speed Up Invisalign Treatment?
When you start treatment, I’ll let you know how long Invisalign will take for your case. Remember, don’t focus on the number of aligners, because there will be multiple series of aligners to get you to the finish line. The duration of your treatment is based on the treatment plan that I created for you at the start. It assumes that your Invisalign fits correctly and that you’re wearing the aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day.
So, technically, chewies won’t speed up your Invisalign treatment. Using them, however, will keep your treatment on track and help you get the results you want without any delays. When your Invisalign doesn’t fit correctly, achieving the prescribed tooth movements will take longer.
Connect With a Leading El Dorado Hills Invisalign Provider
Still have questions about how to use Invisalign chewies or bite sticks? Give our office a call and we’ll be happy to help. If you haven’t started treatment yet, schedule a complimentary consultation at Jeffrey Kwong Orthodontics in El Dorado Hills, CA today!